CACHE – Hopes of a 4A-1 District title for the Clinton baseball team (16-7 overall, 4-3 in district) were dashed Tuesday night at Cache (13-12, 7-1).
The Reds faced off against Cache’s ace pitcher Alex Smith and couldn’t get the ball in play in what ultimately was a 5-2 loss for the Reds. Smith struck out 14 batters in his 6.2 innings of work. Clinton competed on defense and on the mound but managed just four hits in the loss.
The loss eliminates the Reds from a shot at the in-season district title. Weatherford and Cache will battle it out for the title next week.
Clinton head baseball coach Kelly Gaunt gave props to Smith’s skill-set but said the Reds should’ve put their bats to the ball more often.
“Honestly, I thought we should’ve gotten him in play a whole lot more than what we did,” he said. “We just couldn’t do it. I know he’s a good pitcher, but even with that, we’ve got to get the ball in play.”
On the mound, Manning McAtee started the game and went 2.1 innings, surrendering four runs. Gaunt said a three-run homer in the first inning made his day look worse than it was. Gage Gaunt pitched the final 3.2 innings and allowed just two runs the rest of the way.
“Manning didn’t do terrible,” Gaunt said, “They hit a three-run home run in the first inning – that ended up being the difference. We’ve got to pitch better. It’s not always about balls and strikes. Sometimes it’s about control in the strike zone. I didn’t think we did a great job of that yesterday (Tuesday).